Well, the blog has been quite quiet this month for a number of reasons. In part because pretty much the ONLY thing I’ve been reading is the next ten Brian Flynn books to be republished. That’s hardly a chore – these are all great fun reads, I can’t wait to hear what people think of the motive for one book in particular – but I’m going to drip feed the reviews from now to September to pique your interest. Also, I’ve been preparing for the Bodies talk last week (honest, I prepared, I did) and work (as any UK teacher will currently tell you) has been off the scale, meaning that reading time has been rare, and on top of that, my attention span has been shot to hell. Don’t worry about the Flynn intros being affected, I always make notes when I read them, but there have been a couple of other books that I’m pretty sure if I was focussed properly on them, I’d have enjoyed them a lot more than I did.
Hopefully things will improve soon, but I thought I’d try and jump-start things by giving myself a challenge to fulfil over the next couple of months – a list of ten books to read, recent acquisitions, over the next two months. A lot of books by favourite authors, a couple by authors new to me, all books that I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy. Oh, apart from one, but I’ll get to that…
- Trouble A-Brewing (1946) by John Bude
I’ve enjoyed the Bude titles that the British Library – still got a couple more of them to read, come to think of it – but they seem to have dried up at the moment. Not sure why, but when I saw a second hand copy of this one appear on eBay (and not for an utterly ridiculous price), I decided to snap it up.
- Who Killed Brother Treasurer? (1951) by Cecil M Wills
This is the iffy one. Wills is an author who I’ve read two books by – Midsummer Murder which I loved and The Case Of The Empty Beehive, which I didn’t. This one, again picked up on eBay, might be the decider, although it looks a bit odd – the blurb describes the police investigators going undercover in a religious cult, the Brothers of Isaiah.
- The Poisoner’s Mistake (1936) by Belton Cobb
I’ve really come to appreciate Cobb a lot of the past year. An enjoyably reliable writer, whose best work seems to be his earlier work, I was delighted to get hold of a copy of this one, his second Inspector Burmann book. It’s been recommended to me a few times but this and his first book, No Alibi, don’t seem to ever appear on the second-hand websites, so well-chuffed to find this one.
- Death’s Old Sweet Song (1946) by Jonathan Stagge
The penultimate title released under the Stagge pseudonym, these are pretty rare in the UK. Not sure why, they were released over here, usually with a different title, but they very rarely seem to appear for sale. This was a much-appreciated Christmas present that I’m very much looking forward to reading.
- This Undesirable Residence (1942) by Miles Burton
One of my favourite writers of GA crime fiction who admittedly tailed off a bit/a lot (delete as applicable) in his later years, this is from a time when he was at the height of his powers. Found a Collins White Circle paperback a while ago, and it’s well past time I took a look at it.
- Crime Pays No Dividends (1945) by E & M A Radford
Another lucky eBay find. Dean Street Press has brought these authors to my attention, and this chance spot of the third case for Inspector Manson means that I get to read an extra one. If it’s any good, I will let Dean Street Press borrow it, should they need it…
- Measure For Murder (1941) by Clifford Witting
Witting has had a bit of a resurgence thanks to the republishing of Catt Out Of The Bag last Christmas, with Murder In Blue on the way in July and this one in October. Maybe I should have checked that before forking out for this copy, but what the heck – it just means that I get to review it in advance.
And talking of reviewing things in advance…
- 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
I do get sent/beg and plead for review copies of new books from time to time, and I’ve managed to get copies of all of Catherine’s books to date – Distress Signals was one of the strongest debut novels that I’ve read, a really clever whodunit/thriller combination and her other books, The Liar’s Girl, Rewind and The Nothing Man, have never failed to entertain. This one is out in August (so I’ll save the review til nearer the release date) but there’s no way it’s sitting unread on my shelf until then. This one is a lockdown thriller – a couple take a chance on each other and move in together for lockdown. Once it is over, the police arrive to find a body… Looking forward to this a lot…
- Dead Ground by M W Craven
… just as I am this one. Stunningly plotted and delightfully written, the Washington Poe thrillers (and the Avison Fluke ones) is simply the finest series out there at the moment. Thrillers that are genuinely thrilling, with a strong mystery element to them too. Oh, and two of the most entertaining leads – three if you count the dog – that you could hope to read about. After The Puppet Show, Black Summer and The Curator, Dead Ground sees Poe and Tilly called to the scene of a murder by baseball bat in a brothel, not normally the sort of thing that warrants their attention… This one is out very soon – June 3rd in fact, so expect the review even sooner than that.
- The Grim Maiden by Brian Flynn
Out in September along with books 21 to 29 – this is book 30 – I’d better hurry up and read this one as I need to write an introduction for it! It’s the only one left to read…
So, the plan is to read those books over the next two months – so by the end of July. Let’s see how I do.
Have you read any of these? Let me know (no spoilers) in the comments below.